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Economic Data

Welcome to the ‘Economic Data’ section of Insight DIY, which includes a summary of all of the key UK economic indicators that you may need to know within your business. Each of these key indicators are updated as and when they are released by their various sources and provide a really valuable addition to any monthly report or business overview.

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit logo

Index: 47.0 - March 2018
Previous month: 51.4 – February 2018

Publication date: 4th April 2018
Next publication date: 2nd May 2018

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) is a diffusion index incorporating survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country. A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction. Policymakers and traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, rather than waiting for the hard data to emerge.

Source: Markit Economics

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

March Monthly Index*: 423.9 (February: 424.8)
March Monthly Change*: -0.2% (February: -0.4%)
March Annual Change: 2.1% (February: 2.2%)
March Average Price: (not seasonally adjusted) £211,625 (February: £210,402)

* Seasonally adjusted figure (note that monthly % changes are revised when seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated)

Annual house price growth remained subdued in March
- UK annual house price growth steady at 2.1%
- London again weakest performing region, with house prices down 1% year-on-year

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: 

“UK house price growth remained broadly stable in March at 2.1%, little changed from the 2.2% recorded the previous month. House prices fell by 0.2% over the month, after taking account of seasonal factors.

“On the surface, the relatively subdued pace of house price growth appears at odds with recent healthy rates of employment growth, a modest pick-up in wage growth and historically low borrowing costs. However, consumer confidence has remained subdued, due to the ongoing squeeze on household finances as wage growth continues to lag behind increases in the cost of living.

“Looking ahead, much will depend on how broader economic conditions evolve, especially in the labour market, but also with respect to interest rates. Subdued economic activity and the ongoing squeeze on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year.

“But historically low unemployment and mortgage interest rates together with the lack of properties on the market is likely to provide some support for house prices. Overall, we expect house prices to be broadly flat, with a marginal gain of around 1% over the course of 2018."

Period: Q1 2018

Release Date: March 2018
Next Release Date: April 2018

Nationwide are the world's largest building society and one of the UK's largest mortgage providers. They have the longest unbroken run of house price data, stretching back to 1952 on a quarterly basis and 1991 on a monthly basis. Here you can access their monthly and quarterly house price reports, special features and download data series. 

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Main points:

- In February 2018, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 0.8% when compared with the previous month, with increases seen across all main sectors except non-food stores.
- The monthly increase to the quantity bought follows two monthly declines in December and January, resulting in an overall decrease of 0.4% in the three months to February
- The year-on-year growth rate increased by 1.5% following a general slowdown when compared with an increase of 3.3% in February 2017; however, this stabilised in recent months as we see little movement in the year-on-year growth since November 2017.
- While we continue to see price increases across all sectors, there is a slowdown to growth in the last two months, falling from 3.1% in December to 2.5% in February.
- Internet sales saw an increase in its proportion of all seasonally adjusted retailing in February when compared with January, accounting for 17.2% of all retail; this continues the general upward trend in money spent online as the proportion of online spending in February 2017 was at 15.6%.
- In the latest three months the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 0.4% compared with the previous three months; while the underlying pattern remains one of growth, this is the weakest quarterly growth since the decline of 1.2% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2017.
- On the month, the quantity bought decreased by 1.5% when compared with strong sales in November 2017. 
- In December 2017, the quantity bought increased by 1.4% when compared with December 2016, with positive contributions from all stores except food stores.
- For the whole of 2017, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.9%; the lowest annual growth since 2013. 
- In non-seasonally adjusted terms, shopping for Christmas has shifted in recent years from being mainly in December to more in November as consumers seem to be starting their purchasing earlier in line with Black Friday promotions.
- Internet sales continued to increase when compared with previous years, with physical stores dominating online sales growth in December.

Period: February 2018

Released: 22nd March 2018
Next Release Date: 19th April 2018

A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

Source: Office for National Statistics

 

Bank of England Base Rate

Bank of England

Current Bank Rate: 0.5%
Previous Month’s Bank Rate: 0.5%

Release Date: 22nd March 2018
Next Release Date: 10th May 2018

Source: Bank of England

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 4.3% (November 2017 to January 2018)
Previous annual rate: 4.7% (November 2016 to January 2017) 

  • Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between August to October 2017 and November 2017 to January 2018, the number of people in work and the number of unemployed people both increased, but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) decreased.

  • There were 32.25 million people in work, 168,000 more than for August to October 2017 and 402,000 more than for a year earlier.

  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.3%, higher than for a year earlier (74.6%) and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Period covered: November 2017 to January 2018

Publication date: 21st March 2017
Next publication date: 17th April 2018

The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using a definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people as those without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. It also includes those who are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points:

- The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.5% in February 2018, down from 2.7% in January 2018
- The largest downward contributions to the change in the rate came from transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago.
- Falling prices for accommodation services also had a downward effect.
- Rising prices for footwear produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution.
- The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in February 2018, down from 3.0% in January 2018.
- The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.7% in December 2017, down from 2.8% in November 2017.
- Following a steady increase from late 2015, since April 2017 the CPIH rate has levelled off, ranging between 2.6% and 2.8%.
- The downward effect came mainly fromair fares, along with a fall in the prices of a range of recreational goods, particularly games and toys.
- The downward contributions were partially offset by an increase in tobacco prices, reflecting duty increases that came into effect following the Autumn Budget, along with an increase in petrol and diesel prices.
- The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 3.0% in December 2017, down from 3.1% in November 2017.

Release Date: 20th March 2018
Next Release: 18th April 2018

Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation. 

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Producer Price Inflation (PPI)

Producer Price Index

Main points:

- The headline rate of inflation for goods leaving the factory gate (output prices) was 2.6% on the year to February 2018, down from 2.8% in January 2018
- Prices for materials and fuels (input prices) rose 3.4% on the year to February 2018, down from 4.5% in January 2018
- All industries provided upward contributions to output annual inflation; the largest contribution was made by food products.
- Crude oil continued to provide the largest upward contribution to the input annual inflation, despite providing the largest downward contribution on the month.

Period: February 2018 

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

Release Date: 20th March 2018
Next Release: 18th April 2018

Source: Office for National Statistics

BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image

Covering the four weeks 28 January – 24 February 2018

  • In February, UK retail sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from February 2017, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 1.6% in February, against a growth of 0.4% in February 2017. This is roughly in line with the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.5% and 1.7% respectively.
  • Over the three months to February, In-store sales of Non-Food items declined 2.4% on a Total basis and 3.3% on a Like-for-like basis. On a 12-month basis, the Total decline was 2.2%.
  • Over the three months to February, Food sales increased 2.8% on a like-for-like basis and 4.0% on a total basis. This is now in line with the 12-month Total average growth of 3.9%, the highest since October 2012.
  • Over the three months to February, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 0.5% on a total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average decrease of 0.0%.

Online sales of Non-Food products grew 6.4% in February, against a growth of 8.0% in February 2017. This is below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 6.5% and 7.7% respectively.

Release Date: 6th March 2018
Next Release Date: April 2018

 

Source: KPMG Monitor

UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.4% between Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2017; this is a 0.1 percentage point revision down from the preliminary estimate of GDP, in part reflecting a small downward revision to the estimated output of the production industries.

  • Growth in the latest quarter was driven by business services and finance within the services sector, there was, though, a small downward revision to services since the preliminary estimate of GDP, but this does not impact on services quarterly growth to one decimal place.

  • Business investment growth was flat between Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2017, but when compared with the same quarter a year ago business investment grew by 2.1%.

  • GDP was estimated to have increased by 1.7% between 2016 and 2017, a downward revision of 0.1 percentage points from the preliminary estimate and slightly lower than the 1.9% growth seen between 2015 and 2016.

  • Household spending grew by 1.8% between 2016 and 2017, its slowest rate of annual growth since 2012, in part reflecting the increased prices faced by consumers.

Release Date: 22nd February 2018
Next Release Date: 29th March 2018

Preliminary, second and final estimates of GDP released over a quarter as more data becomes available. The final estimate is published in the Quarterly National Accounts. GDP is the main measure of UK economic growth based on the value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Source: Office for National Statistics

NHBC - New Build Statistics/New Registrations

NHBC flag

Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 44,963
Total Registrations (Rolling Q1 March to May 2016): 40,641
Percentage Change: +11%.

Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 32,561
Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 31,215
Percentage change: +4%

Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 12,402
Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 9,426
Percentage change: +32%

The continued upturn in affordable sector registrations can be attributed to a number of larger Housing Associations developing homes for market rent, private sale and shared ownership along with an increase in joint ventures with the private sector.

Over the rolling quarter nine of the 12 UK regions experienced growth, with West Midlands (+56%), Yorkshire & Humberside (+34%) and the North West (+26%) among the fastest growing areas, when compared to the same time last year.

As the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, NHBC's registration statistics, representing approximately 80% of the new homes market, are a lead indicator of UK house-building activity.

Commenting on the latest figures, NHBC Business Development Director Neil Jefferson said: "It is encouraging to report another positive month of growth in the sector, with levels in May ahead of those seen this time last year. We have seen increases in the levels of new home registrations in both the private and affordable sector and in nine out of 12 UK regions."

Release Date: 5th July 2017
Next Release: August 2017

Source: NHBC

UK Population Figures

UK Census

UK population: 65,648,100 (30th June 2016 estimate)
UK population: 65,110,000 (mid 2015 estimates)
Percentage change: +0.8%

Male: 32.4 million (49.3%)
Female: 33.0 million (50.7%)

Estimated population of England: 55,268,100 (84.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Scotland: 5,404,700 (8.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Wales: 3,113,200 (4.7% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Northern Ireland: 1,862,100 (2.8% of the UK’s population)


Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

Data last updated: 22nd June 2017

Next Update: June 2018

Source: ONS

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Insight provides a host of information I need on many of our company’s largest customers. I use this information regularly with my team, both at a local level as well as with our other international operations. It’s extremely useful when sharing market intelligence information with our corporate office.

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Paul Boyce - European CEO, QEP Ltd.
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